• Youth For Understanding (USA) Youth For Understanding (USA)


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Mission Statement

Youth For Understanding (YFU) advances intercultural understanding, mutual respect, and social responsibility through educational exchanges for youth, families and communities. The YFU Vision Statement

Youth For Understanding (YFU) is a worldwide movement of committed individuals and organizations working together to prepare young people for their responsibilities and challenges in a changing, interdependent global community. YFU exemplifies excellence through leadership in the field of exchange. Our national organizations share a common mission and vision for the future. Fully autonomous, we embrace our interdependence. Worldwide, we seek to set the standard for quality service and support to all our participants.

Driven by our mission, we commit ourselves to finding new and innovative ways to inspire and engage a growing base of participants inclusive of racial, ethnic, and geographic diversity and increasingly open to all regardless of socio-economic status. Results-oriented, we demonstrate our impact through measurable performance indicators. We value innovation in response to the rapidly accelerating pace of change.

The Adventure of a Lifetime

YFU must offer young people the adventure of a lifetime--the opportunity to explore other countries and cultures, master new languages, and discover themselves. We seek to transform young people by instilling passion for life-long learning, and the skills and knowledge to thrive and contribute amidst cultural diversity. To achieve these significant educational aims, we provide young people between the ages of 15 and 22 a variety of intensive exchange opportunities. Young enough to fully adjust to a new country and culture, yet old enough to reflect and integrate their experiences, our participants reap the rewards of host family and community life. We believe that this full immersion is the most effective means of international education, which will be increasingly relevant for generations to come.

Volunteers, alumni, and staff share ownership and responsibility for leadership; research, development, and delivery of program offerings; and quality assurance. Through formal international structures and informal interactions, we model cross-cultural skills, international understanding, and mutual respect.

YFU works to create increasing interest and enthusiasm for international learning through exchange programs. Thus we challenge ourselves to shape the attitudes of those with whom we engage. Strategic alliances; focused marketing and communications; and effective utilization of technology are key to increasing and diversifying exchange participation.

Sustained, active engagement by YFU alumni is an essential element of our success and a measure of the life-long impact of our programs.

Educators are natural and valued partners in the YFU mission to advance global knowledge and understanding. Strong partnerships with schools will leverage learning opportunities and build shared commitment to international learning.

We seek flexible and dynamic partnerships with other organizations, foundations, corporations, and individuals to further specific goals, develop new programs or capabilities, and enhance our organizational reach and effectiveness.


Youth For Understanding (YFU) is a non-profit international educational organization with programs in 64 countries. One of the world's oldest, largest, and most respected exchange organizations, YFU has exemplified excellence in exchange worldwide since 1951.

YFU USA administers the Youth For Understanding programs in the United States and is committed to preparing young people for their responsibilities and opportunities in a changing, interdependent world. Working in partnership with governments, corporations, foundations, schools, and educators worldwide to create global learning opportunities, YFU promotes international understanding and world peace.

YFU international offices and partners have a long and successful track record. As of this year 250,000 students and their host families have benefited from YFU exchanges worldwide. Youth For Understanding is a worldwide coalition of committed organizations and individuals. These people are joined by the belief that full cultural immersion is the most effective means to acquire the skills needed to thrive in an increasingly multicultural, interconnected, and competitive global society.

Whether the impact of globalization will be for better or worse - whether it becomes a threat or an opportunity - depends on how the next generation responds to its challenges. Youth For Understanding is uniquely positioned to empower and prepare young people to rise to these challenges in the 21st century.

Thorough preparation and program support differentiate YFU from other student exchange organizations. Youth For Understanding has earned an excellent reputation for its comprehensive orientation programs for students and host families. YFU has partner offices around the world. The YFU USA National Office located in the Washington, DC metropolitan area with five district offices throughout the United States. A global network of YFU staff and volunteers, subscribing to a common set of quality program standards, helps our students every step of the way. That is why YFU offices have been selected to administer more government and corporate scholarships than any other high school exchange organization. And that is why thousands of parents across the globe trust YFU with their teenagers every year.



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